And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord, your God, has led you these 40 years in the wilderness. Deuteronomy 8:2
The American humorist Fred Allen used to say that there are three things he couldn’t remember: names, faces... and he couldn’t remember the third. Today on Guidelines we are remembering. We are remembering the 52 years the Lord has led us.
Joining me today in the studio are my wife Darlene and my daughter Bonnie Sala Craddick. Darlene has ministered alongside with me with her own program, Encouraging Words, and devotionals for women. And Bonnie is serving as Guidelines chief executive officer.
Bonnie Craddick: Well, thanks for letting us ladies into the studio today, Dad. As this is Guidelines’ 52nd anniversary, I’d like to ask both of you a few questions. Let’s go back to that very first commentary you ever recorded. What was the year and what were the circumstances?
Harold Sala: The year was 1963. We had the idea, but we hadn’t the finished project yet. It was exciting.
Darlene Sala: We had no studio at that time. We were in a missionary guesthouse. And guess who was the engineer? Your mom! So I was learning the equipment and I just remember that evening we did that program over and over and over again. It took us all evening to complete that first program. Harold would be the wrong distance from the mike. Or somebody outdoors would make some noise. And you know the equipment was totally different in those days. So if you stop in the middle of the program and start with the equipment again, there was this click. So, of course, for our first sample program we didn’t want to have that. I tell you, we did that program a good many times that evening.
HS: But I took that program to Oval Wiley, who was the station manager, and he said, “I like it!” And, Bonnie, we added one new station on the average of every two-and-a-half weeks for the next two years.
BC: Do you remember what the first program was about?
DS: No, I can’t remember. And, on top of that, the original tape got erased accidentally.
BC: We’ll never know now. Well, what’s one of the most striking memories you have of God using the Guidelines ministry or God meeting needs over the years?
HS: One that I will never forget is an email from a woman who said she was ready to take her life. She was standing on a chair with a rope around her neck, ready to step off when my Guidelines commentary came on the air and the subject was “What does God think of suicide.” She said, “I can’t do it!” And she got off the chair, untied the rope, obviously, and called the station that was releasing the program. And the person on the board led her to Christ. We’ve heard of many people, who were in a disastrous situation and yet God met them as the result of one simple radio program, five minutes in length.
BC: Mom, what about God meeting the needs of the ministry over the years?
DS: Oh, that’s been wonderful! In 52 years—each year has had its own story—we’ve seen wonderful things happen. One time we needed $7,000 so badly and we were overseas at that time. Harold’s brother, Orville, was taking care of the office and he called us that he had just gotten a check written in blue pencil for $7,000. So he had called the bank to see if it was valid—and it was—and that met the need.
BC: And God has been faithful time and time again, hasn’t He?
HS: You know I’ve often said, “God is seldom early, but He is never late.” And we have discovered that. Hudson Taylor, missionary to China, put it so well when he said, “God’s work done God’s way will never lack God’s supply.” He is the faithful God Who continues to meet needs. There is a verse in Isaiah, chapter 26 that really explains everything that has happened in these 52 years. It says, “All that we have accomplished you, Lord, have done for us” (v. 12). Our special thanks to the network of radio stations that have carried Guidelines faithfully year after year.
Resource reading: Isaiah 26: 1-13